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STEVIE LAWRENCE - The Hidden Gem       

The first thing that strikes you about The Hidden Gem is the front of the album booklet.  I am sure that the picture is upside down.  I turned it over - that was better but the titles now looked like ancient runes.  Strange!!!

But there is nothing strange about Stevie Lawrence’s solo recording - except that it’s not solo.  I counted nine other musicians providing an amazing depth.  There again if you had the chance to include Wendy Weatherby, Fraser Spiers, Celine Donaghue, Gavin Marwick… then wouldn’t you?  And of course another ex member of Iron Horse, Annie Grace, when you add the ten plus that Stevie plays as well it could lead to an over complicated sound, but thankfully it doesn’t.

It was as a member of The Iron Horse that Stevie Lawrence first reached many of our ears, but he had been playing for many years before that.  His CV reads like a Who’s Who as do many of those supporting him.  And that is what they do because this is very much his album, as approximately two-thirds of this instrumental CD have been written by Stevie.  Of the others there are contributions from Le Gop and accordionist Angus Lyon.

There are no outstanding tracks, they are all good and if I chose my favourites it would be unfair on the others.  They all show a high standard of musicianship, whether low whistle on Home by Two, pipes on Tommy Kane’s or guitar on many tracks.  Running through many tracks, my surprise was the variety of patterns created by his percussion playing. 

Top-quality stuff this and with a bit of exposure could do well.  I almost added don’t let it stay a hidden gem!!!  But that would be too corny for such a good CD.  But I still think the cover is upside down.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 73 of The Living Tradition magazine.